poems

Cadence Collective: Long Beach Poets

Hanging Heart 3
By Sarah Thursday

I was excited to meet you,
you would be more like me.
All the years being yanked
from one place to the next,
being pulled out of school early
means I wasn’t coming back.
I can’t even remember the names
of my teachers, but I can recite
the cities like family members.

Then I met you, Long Beach,
the city of everything,
of Cambodia and Mexico,
of apartments spilling bodies
in the streets, spilling ranchero melodies
and clicking tongues full of Vietnam.
My color was a minority.
My clothes from donated boxes
did not flinch you—
you with your narrow alleyways
and grubby cheeked children.
I was at home before
I knew how long I’d stay.

I knew you were like me
born of struggle and sitting
on window sills staring out
at distant city lights.
Even when we got a new father
and lived among your…

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